The first time this happened to me, it was an unassuming book of quotes by Mother Theresa of Calcutta, The Joy in Loving. It found me when I had just finished serving in one of her missionary hospices in Balaclava, Jamaica.
Then, it was Party of One by Anneli Rufus, written in defense of people like me who enjoy living and working in solitude, women who avoid lunching with friends, and shun chatting on the phone in favor of cultivating their passion in life. Jane Goodall also comes to mind.
This time the book is Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (www.storyfix.com).
It jumped out at me from a website I was scanning so I sent for it right away. In it, the author outlines the steps to creating a story arc and character arc. He teaches a storytelling model…where to start and exactly how to get where you need to go. This may be second nature to those of you who hold an MFA in creative writing…but for those of us who have written little more than patient care plans for thirty years, it is a goldmine. I mean, I’ve read about concept, premise, and theme. And I know about the importance of the inciting incident, plot points, and conflict, about three dimensional characters, and “showing not telling”…but for the first time, I really feel as though I’m learning how to put them to work in my writing.
This is exciting because there is a story I have been aching to write for over ten years. Suffice it to say that it has something to do with corporate greed, betrayal, forbidden love, an environmental disaster, and the Church. Finally, I am hopeful that it may find its way onto the page…and I’m really excited about the prospect! Thanks, Larry. I can hardly wait to begin…again.
“I am still learning.”